Chaucer's humour: critical essays Garland 1994
Of course it is impossible finally to prove a negative, but I will suggest that the various precise diagnoses of the Pardoner's sexual condition offered by so many critics are much less reliable than most Chaucerians have come to believe.
Geoffrey Chaucer Biography; Critical Essays; ..
Paull Baum first suggested that in addition to the literal musical meaning of bass accompaniment, Chaucer is playing with other words, including , "staff," to suggest a homosexual relation between Summoner and Pardoner. Two other critics have supported the argument that as staff could be used as a reference to the male phallus, although the evidence they cite is either later (from Gascoigne and, less relevantly, Dylan Thomas) or from medieval French literature. Even such weak evidence for the pun should not be dismissed absolutely, but sexual metaphors are notoriously various and must be treated carefully..99">
Even Chaucer, in Arnold's view, in spite of his virtues such as benignity, largeness, and spontaneity, lacks seriousness. Burns too lacks sufficient seriousness, because he was hypocritical in that while he adopted a moral stance in some of his poems, in his private life he flouted morality.